Sponsoring Spouse to Canada
You are on your dream vacations overseas, and you meet the ONE. The whole world seems to be a fairy tale until you hear the word “immigration”. Often there is a skewed assumption that immigration will not be an obstacle to happily ever after simply because one is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada without any prior issues with the law except for that speeding ticket. Our experience has shown us that it takes much more than just being an obedient citizen to go through a cumbersome spousal sponsorship process successfully.
The information provided here will equip you with the basic understanding of what you should DO and DETERMINE long before and at the outset of applying to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for your spousal sponsorship.
What does CIC look for when sponsoring spouse?
If you are in a serious relationship with someone who potentially may need to face an immigration process to start your lives together, now is the time to act! Make sure you DO the following to make your life easier later in the process – collect evidence!
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) works very hard to eliminate fraudulent applications. Therefore, it has one of the strictest hurdles for a large number of unprepared couples to overcome – showing that the relationship is genuine. Be prepared!
You may be toying with the idea that you have a marriage certificate and wedding pictures, so it should work. Yes, but alas, it is only a half of your success. First and foremost, introduce your spouse/partner to your family and friends early on. It is imperative to show the development of your relationship from the very start. Now it is easier than ever with the modern technology. It is reasonable that some couples are not “camera” people, or just do not engage in online chatting or any social media. Nonetheless, it is crucial to provide CIC with the best possible evidence to prove that your relationship is genuine. So, take use of that fancy smartphone and consider:
Taking pictures of:
- You and your spouse at all events, celebrations, holidays, and vacations
- Both of you and your family members, and vice versa if possible
- Both of you and your mutual friends during different outings
- Keeping invoices and receipts of mutual vacations and trips supported by pictures
- Collecting records of all communication with your spouse from all social media, smartphone applications, emails, telephone conversations, and Skype chatting, etc.
And it is highly suggested to remember – always back up and save all of the online chats and pictures. These are just some of the ways to ensure you have got enough evidence to prove that your relationship is genuine.
What to consider when starting Spousal Sponsorship Application?
When the right time has finally approached, and you are ready to start the application, DETERMINE the following:
- Your eligibility
- Your relationship
- Inland or outland application
Spousal Sponsorship Qualification Criteria
Below is a short overview of the “must haves” to qualify to be a sponsor and to be sponsored. Regarding the sponsor, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or more
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- Meet the minimum financial requirement
- Sign an undertaking
- Not have an active undertaking for a previous spouse or common-law partner
For the applicant in addition to the age requirement, one must NOT:
- Be criminally convicted; however if so, must be pardoned
Do I have to be married to Sponsor my Partner to Canada?
Some may think that it is necessary to be married to be eligible for the spousal sponsorship. However, this is not the case. As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, under spousal sponsorship you can sponsor:
- Common-law partner
- Conjugal partner
If you are legally married in or outside Canada, then surely enough, you should start your application under the spousal category. Questions arise though when couples are not married but live together. In that case, the application should be submitted under the common-law category so long as the couple has been cohabitating for at least the last 12 months. To substantiate your cohabitation, CIC requires evidence of joint accounts, insurance policies, joint property ownership or lease agreements, etc.
With respect to the conjugal class, the couple must be in the relationship for at least a year. However, it is appropriate to apply under this category only if the couple could not get married or live together because of the substantial reasons. This one should not be taken lightly. You should have the most feasible explanation as to why cohabitation was impossible. One of the accepted reasons by CIC perhaps would be multiple or permanent denials in visa applications from both of your countries.
N.B.: On October 25, 2012, there were changes implemented to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, specifically regarding section 72.1 (1). It stipulates that sponsored spouses or partners are subject to the conditional permanent residence if, at the time when the application was filed, the couple was in a relationship for two or less than two years and had no children. This condition makes it mandatory for sponsored spouses and partners to live with their sponsors for at least two years after receiving of the permanent residence to avoid victimizing Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
You have an option of submitting your application outside or inside Canada. If your spouse or partner lives outside Canada, the application should be sent to the visa office to the sponsored person’s country of origin. However, in the cases where your spouse or partner is in Canada, the application must be sent to the case processing center in Canada. Luckily, the applicant has a possibility to apply for an open work permit along with the sponsorship application. It is a good practice not to leave the country if the application was sent inside Canada. Make sure that before booking that airline ticket, you get an advice from experts like Akrami and Associates.
Contact Akrami & Associates
That was a short overview of the basic information you should know before applying for a spousal sponsorship. Remember, here at Akrami and Associates we are always ready to provide high-quality advice, so give us a call at 416-477-2545 should you need more clarification.
With Akrami & Associates there is always a way!!